Center for Computational Psychiatry

Research

The Center for Computational Psychiatry investigates how quantitative and objective tools and methodologies can be harnessed to improve mental health diagnosis and treatment.

Current Projects

The computational psychiatry team is conducting research on the following projects:

The Influences of Eating and Fasting on Inhibitory Control in Bulimia Nervosa: A Computational Neuroimaging Study (K23 MH118418)
PI: Laura Berner, PhD

Individuals with BN typically oscillate between states of problematic under- and over-control—excessive eating and restricted intake/fasting. The goal of this five-year mentored patient-oriented research career development award is to better understand the computational underpinnings of inhibitory control in these two states in BN. Specifically, the proposed study combines functional magnetic resonance imaging with dynamic Bayesian modeling to examine whether eating and fasting abnormally impact how the brains of women with BN prepare for and exert inhibitory control.

Linking Gut-Brain Signals to the Costs of Cognitive Control in Bulimia Nervosa: A Neuroeconomic Investigation (NARSAD Young Investigator Award)
PI: Laura Berner, PhD

This study examines whether abnormal gut-brain signaling after food intake influences effort-cost computations in BN. We hypothesize that 1) food intake abnormally inflates subjective effort costs in women with BN, biasing them towards the costs versus the benefits of cognitive control; 2) fed-state effort costs are associated with a persistently elevated ghrelin response in women with BN relative to healthy women; and 3) these altered responses to the fed state promote episodic, out-of-control eating and purging.

Computational and Neural Modeling of Cue Reactivity in Addiction (R01DA043695)
PI: Xiaosi Gu, PhD

This project aims to examine neural and computational substrates of cue-induced craving using Bayesian modeling of behavior and dynamic causal modeling of fMRI data.

Neurocomputational Mechanisms of Proactive Social Behavior Deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder (R01 MH122611)
MPIs: Jennifer Foss-Feig, PhD; Daniela Schiller, PhD; Xiaosi Gu, PhD

The goal of this study is to gain new knowledge about the brain mechanisms underlying social interaction deficits in autism using computational modeling, novel brain imaging tools, and dynamic experimental tasks.

Computational and Electrochemical Substrates of Social Decision-Making in Humans (R01 MH124115)
MPIs: Read Montague, PhD; Xiaosi Gu, PhD; Kenneth Tucker Kishida, PhD

Dopamine and serotonin jointly influence a broad range of healthy cognition, and changes in their delivery or action are thought to underpin a variety of pathological conditions including major depressive disorder, drug addiction, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson’s disease. During the window of opportunity afforded by deep brain stimulating (DBS) electrode implantation, we will make the first recordings of joint dopamine and serotonin dynamics in the striatum of conscious humans during the execution of interpersonal social exchange games. This work will address for the first time how these important neuromodulators encode social processes important for healthy cognition and affected by disease and injury

Delineating Proactive Social Behaviors in Dynamic and Multidimensional Social Space (R21 MH120789)
MPIs: Daniela Schiller, PhD; Xiaosi Gu, PhD

This project aims to develop novel computational frameworks to capture two critical yet under-investigated aspects of proactive social behaviors during dynamically changing environments—social controllability and social navigation—in unselected human participants using both laboratory and mobile app platforms.

Neurocomputational Mechanisms for Addiction Heterogeneity, Impulsivity and Perseverance (R21DA049243)
PI: Xiaosi Gu, PhD

The goal of this study is to understand the brain mechanisms of both impulsivity and perseverance and how they contribute to nicotine addiction.

Publications

Our selected publications are listed below. For the full list, view our PlumX page.

Levy I, Schiller D. Neural Computations of Threat. Trends Cogn Sci. 2021 Feb;25(2):151-171. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2020.11.007. Epub 2020 Dec 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 33384214.

Homan P, Levy I, Feltham E, Gordon C, Hu J, Li J, Pietrzak RH, Southwick S, Krystal JH, Harpaz-Rotem I, Schiller D. Neural computations of threat in the aftermath of combat trauma. Nat Neurosci. 2019 Mar;22(3):470-476. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0315-x. Epub 2019 Jan 21. PubMed PMID: 30664770; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6829910.

Tavares RM, Mendelsohn A, Grossman Y, Williams CH, Shapiro M, Trope Y, Schiller D. A Map for Social Navigation in the Human Brain. Neuron. 2015 Jul 1;87(1):231-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.06.011. PubMed PMID: 26139376; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4662863.

​Gu X, Filbey F. A Bayesian Observer Model of Drug Craving. JAMA Psychiatry, 2017.

Gu X, Lohrenz T, Salas R, Baldwin PR, Soltani A, Kirk U, Cinciripini PM, Montague PR. Belief about nicotine selectively modulates value and reward prediction error signals in smokers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2015. 

​Fiore VG, Ognibene D, Adinoff B, Gu X. A Multilevel Computational Characterization of Endophenotypes in Addiction. eNeuro, 2018 

Gu X, Wang X, Hula A, Wang S, Xu S, Lohrenz TM, Knight RT, Gao Z, Dayan P, Montague PR. Necessary, yet dissociable contributions of the insular and ventromedial prefrontal cortices to norm adaptation: computational and lesion evidence in humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015.

Sui J, Gu X. Self as Object: Emerging Trends in Self Research. Trends in Neuroscience, 2017.

Berner L, Simmons A, Wierenga C, Bischoff-Grethe A, Paulus M, Bailer U, Kaye W. Altered anticipation and processing of aversive interoceptive experience among women remitted from bulimia nervosa. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2019.

Berner L, Wang Z, Stefan M, Lee S, Huo Z, Cyr M, Marsh R. Subcortical shape abnormalities in bulimia nervosa. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2019.

Center for Computational Psychiatry Profile on PlumX